It’s not the best of times for motorists and residents of Katsina State as the scarcity of Petrol Motor Spirit (PMS) has forced the price of a litre to rise to N750.
The development has forced the major highways and streets that were busy with economic and social activities to be deserted.
All through the weekend, private and commercial vehicles’ owners as well as motor cycles’ operators spent their time queueing in a few filling stations dispensing the product. Although fuel scarcity resurfaced in the state over a week ago, the situation deteriorated at the weekend as only a few stations had the product to sell.
A resident, Zacharia Shadrack, who was seen at Danmarna Filling Station in Katsina waiting to get the product, said: “Fuel scarcity in Katsina is worsening on a daily basis, unlike Kano and Kaduna States. I have been looking for fuel for the past three days without success. The government should do the needful by forcing the station owners to stop hoarding the product.”
A commercial tricyclist, Mubarak Salihu Yusuf said he had been looking for fuel for five days ago and got it to buy at the black market, popularly called “Yan Bumburutu” at N750 per litre. He said: “I bought two litres of fuel five days ago at the cost of N800 and the following day I returned there only to discover that a litre was being sold for N600. In the evening of that same day, it went up to N750. if this is allowed to continue, fuel may soon sell for over N1,000 per liter,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, Residents of Abuja and neighboring states of Niger and Nasarawa are still facing tough times sourcing for Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, with the commodity selling for as high as N400/litre by black marketers. The development came almost one week after the import of millions of dirty PMS from Europe into Nigeria disrupted the fuel supply system of the country, leading to long queues nationwide. However, findings on Sunday shows that black marketers who sell petrol in jerry-cans are now the easily accessible suppliers of PMS in Abuja and neighboring states. They have priced their petrol for as high as N6,000 for a 10-litre jerry-can, others sold theirs at N4,000 for 10 litres of PMS, translating to N400/litre.
When contacted on Sunday on what the NNPC was doing as regards the severe scarcity, the spokesperson of the oil firm, Garba-Deen Muhammad, called for patience. He said, “Every possible measure that is to be taken is being taken. Our top management and other staff are (working) round the clock to ensure the return to normalcy. Be patient. The queues will abate very soon.”
Muhammad said that a technical committee had been set up to look into the recall of the contaminated products and how it would be managed. He said, “The first thing is to ensure that it is recalled and not in circulation. There are various ways of handling this kind of product, we will leave that to the technical committee that has been set up.
“This committee is drawn from MOMAN, DAPPMAN, downstream regulator, NNPC, and all stakeholders. They all have technical people and know the best way to handle this kind of product.” The imports of adulterated petrol into Nigeria had triggered widespread concerns among government officials and players in the downstream oil sector, as it resulted in PMS scarcity across the country.